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Hitaru's Respawn Reports


Hitaru

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I am not a fan of members opening several topics in the journal section, for the most part I don't see the point. But for this I understand that a clean slate will help me focus without the inertia of previous writing (which is a real thing to deal with), add it the sensation of goal-orientedness and SMARTness, serve it's purpose and be archived for my own, and other's (if they find it good), reference. Also, it's a good thing to promote Respawn as a product if a seasoned user of the forum goes through it step by step.

If you haven't read my journal, my name is ****, I'm a 23 year old from Spain. I quit games a year and half ago, and despite some significant successes and achievements, I relapsed last week. I'm opening this short journal to rework on the process and try to fix what I did wrong, or not right enough. It's not a closed journal, comments and feedback will be very welcomed during the whole thing.

If you don't know what Respawn is, it's Game Quitters first, most cherished and trademark guide to "quit video games, fill the void and take control of your life". You can read about it and purchase it here (yes, purchase. We have to keep this alive somehow...!).

Here we go!

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Chapter 1 fundamentals: 

4 general reasons why we play games are: Temporary Escape, Socialization, Constant Measurable Growth and Challenge. 

You have to find out the reasons why you play and keep them present, or it will be very easy to get swept by cravings, nostalgia, and other mind tricks I'm sure you know well. With knowledge, you can act, seek alternatives. Without knowledge, you are lost and with no brakes.

 

- Action Step 1 Report: "Why do I play games?"

1. I play games to hide from real life. I was raised a sheltered single child, very pampered and protected, to ridiculous amounts. So I'm not used to responsibility, real work, and facing problems. I tend to escape into things like existentialism and excuses about things I cannot change. My attitude is crap, and I am sorry and regretful, but I keep doing it anyway.

2. I don't play games to connect with friends. Rather, I use games to avoid meetings and events that put social pressure in me. I carry a feeling of awkwardness and inadequacy since childhood, and it doesn't matter I have met like-minded people now, I still hide and procrastinate, then I can give the excuse that I'm busy, tired or sick.

3. I play because in games, I don't have to deal with the fear of failure, I can always try again. In real life what you do is definitive, I fear making mistakes and most importantly, limit myself by making choices. If I don't make any decision, I can perpetually stay in a neutral ground and rationalize my inaction later. 

4. I play because in games I can be whoever the hell I want and do whatever I think best without having to worry about others. There's no discussion about what's ethically best, or pragmatically attainable, or who's in the right or not. I do, I see results, I change and I improve, no one sabotages or opposes me. I have the control and I guess my biggest fear or frustration, is not having the control, not over others, but over myself.

 

- Action Step 2 Report: "I want to quit playing video games because..."

Because even though I am scared as fuck to take action, I am even more scared of growing old to find out I wasted my life doing nothing. Life outside games feels almost unbearable most of the time, but what would it be the same life without having accomplished the bare minimum to survive and exist decently? I would realize my only time on Earth was a waste, that I was a waste and a failure and then I would have to kill myself in shame. I don't want to reach that point, because I know I wouldn't, I would not kill myself, I'd be too scared. So I'd live my whole life in misery and regret, and that would be even worse than death. This happening is a very, very real possibility. To be honest I don't know where my life will lead me and if I'll be happy about it. But at least I can avoid this. I have to.

 

These are my current answers, but they can change anytime. That wouldn't be a problem, I'll be revisiting them and update if needed, keeping this one for reference.

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I should be sleeping but A. I slept in the morning so now I'm not sleepy at all and B. I'm really anxious, so I'll keep going with the reports and get tired eventually.

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Chapter 1 fundamentals (cont.):

Emotions are a bitch. You gotta focus in smart goals, starting from the simplest to accomplish to the most complex, and during this process an "identity" of who you are will be built, your long term-goals becoming clearer as you either do or discard the shorter ones. Deep down we know what are these bigger dreams about, but since we are scared and they feel overwhelming to grasp we bury them below tons of games and assorted bullshit. This is a fuckup we made, yes, but it's ok. People do that all the time, non-gamers as well. The important thing is that you realize how have you been lying to yourself and engaging in pointless negotiation. There's nothing to feel sorry or bad about these emotions, they were meant to protect us, but sometimes things go the wrong way they intended. Here enters our intention and mindset to set the record straight.

 

- Action Step 3 Report: "The emotions I'm experiencing are..."

First of all, I find funny that I'm doing this kind of worksheets in my current stage of life. I just remembered how when I was a child, I would go every Friday to something literally called "Social Skills for (people with) High Intellectual Capacities" for years, and we did exercises like this all the time. It has a bitersweet aftertaste of continuation, as if I didn't learn anything at all and was still the weird child that needed to be fixed and acclimated to normal life. But that's just my personal impression and self-sabotage, and certainly not what Cam intended. It's good to take it out my chest anyway, feels refreshing to move on.

More presently, I feel anxious, and to be honest, discouraged. I feel pushed to do this because I'm not good enough and I have to try my best to not be put aside in my chosen commitment to be part of Game Quitters, and then fail, show everyone that I am not able to move on from games, prove that the most meaningful thing I did in my life was in the end another bit of crap in the crap mountain, that nothing matters and I should simply kill myself already, or rather forget about it and sink into the dark pit of misery and regret mentioned before, because that's where I belong and I deserve. No reason given of course Since both the ideas of living with all the responsibilities this implies, and then dying and "lose" your progress like you'd lose a savegame are scary as fuck, in the dark side of my mind this is presented as a natural fact, like days having sunlight or rain falling down. I hate myself deep down for some reason I don't know because I am scared of the responsibility that comes with loving myself, since, if I loved myself I would have to act like it, get real and do what makes me happy, exactly those things I am scared to do. I feel my existence is harmful and bothersome to others, because if I loved others and acknowledge that they love me back, I would feel I need to be accountable to them, and I am scared of letting them down and their opinion of me. I need them to validate me and I don't want to do anything to provoke their disappointment or any kind of conflict. I feel I shouldn't be here, and at the same time, since I am already here, I'm trapped against my will. I can't do anything to avoid to suffer and lose my mind because I feel my goals and essentialy my very being are wrong and because they come in conflict with other people, and I'm trying my best to avoid expressing myself and create conflict. And that's the way it should be because there was a lot of effort being put into me learning to blend in, to pass below the radar, and in turn I bought this mindset completely, as the only, foolproof way to happiness. I bought it without realizing because deep down I didn't want my mother (and to a lesser degree the friends I had back then) to be disappointed, and when I wanted to realize, I was already confusing it with who I really was as if it genuinely came from me. I am scared that if I start to be who I believe I am deep down, even trying or searching it will make my mother suffer, and I believe she's the only person I have in this world because we have a codependency going on between the two, and because being bullied made me deeply distrustful of people my age.

In summary, I'm feeling anything I can come up with to put myself down and make this fail, because that would justify go back to games. And since I'm kind of smart, I can be pretty creative in putting myself down, while also being harder for me to shrug it off, keep going despite the self-loathing or rationalize opposing, cheerful thoughts.

 

I'm very certain that this low self-esteem is not normal, and I should adress it, but to be honest I'm disdainful of professionals. My experiences have mostly been disappointing, to keep it polite. I also don't want to burden my mother economically by beginning to tour a bunch of (what I emotionally consider to be) scammers until I find the real deal, but it may be unavoidable at some point. I won't cross out the option.

 

- Action Step 4 is Join the Forum, and that's already been made.

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Last post was pretty intense, right? I wasn't expecting that myself, I wrote a first draft and everything that is now underlined came to me after finishing it up. It feels great to be so on-point. I'm not sure if I was aware of all that already and diluted it in tons of journal entries, or if it's new information, but I'm sure it will be a good thing to have it in a single post at the very beginning of a topic. Now with...

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Chapter 2 fundamentals: 

Putting a barrier of entry to make gaming harder and less appealing, and creating a window of opportunity to think twice in the event of a craving, and consider alternatives, which is what you actually want to do deep down, beyond the inertia of the known thing. 

Two cognitive biases to take into account that are instrumental in the process of rationalizing keep gaming instead of quitting: Sunk Cost Fallacy and Loss Aversion.

If you don't know about them, google them. Or... purchase Respawn! (was that a lame pitch? Yeah, it kind of was. I mean it tho, and I'm not getting paid to promote it. Yet.)

 

- Action Step 5 Report: "Barrier Building Checklist":

1. Uninstall the games: Done.

2. Delete accounts and characters: Done: Btw here's a tutorial on How to get rid of your Steam account forever, that I used half and a year ago when I quit games seriously. Or rather I should say, I was only able to quit games seriously when I get rid of the Steam account. 

3. Choose what you are going to do with your gaming consoles: I don't have, I was a PC user. There's the Game Boy somewhere but I haven't even thought about touching it, and when the craving comes I'll just smash it to the ground, cry because there was a lot of good memories and be done with it. I don't think I'll have to be that extreme anytime soon.

4. Unsuscribe from gaming channels: Done. I should have done this way, way sooner. Now if I'm recommended a video about something related to gaming, I just click "Not relevant" and the algorithm will get fixed eventually. That or I'll open a new account, which is not a bad idea.

5. Block sites you want to avoid: Now, this is a problem, because I tried it before and didn't work. My anxiety would skyrocket and I'd find a way to cheat. The amount of download sites and porn sites is infinite, the blocking apps will always fall one step behind. I still recommend them, they can come in handy, specially if you are one to give up when the difficulty to access becomes higher. I'm not discarding using them again but for the most part, I should make a compromise to myself to simply not use the computer at certain times, or use it only at certain times. I get sucked in with nothing, and since I use it for a lot of stuff besides the bad stuff, I can't simply get rid of it. I mean, I could, you know. But I don't want to live without its tools and resources, so I'll have to learn to use it the right way. And less. Most of all less.

 

This will probably be revisited later with me saying that I had to use the damn blockers, but let's hope that it doesn't happen.

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Chapter 3 fundamentals:

- "New Me" Check-in Checklist:

1. Am I feeling happy? If not, what can I do to change it?:

Partly. My outside environment is behaving, being supportive right now, and everything harmful is currently coming from the inside.

I would need to freely express myself without fear, and put my life in order. Speak like I want, dress like I want, act like I want, meet with whoever I want, whatever.


2. Do I have the friends I want? If not, what can I do to change it?:

Yes but. I have friends that I can connect with on a mental and sometimes emotional level and I don't want to lose them, but I lack driven individuals who gently push me forward and motivate me to better myself. Most if not all of my friends, even my boyfriend, also struggle with self-esteem and confidence issues. I'm not complaining but sometimes gives the feel of an echo chamber: when I'm not managing my issues, I'm listening and helping others. In the community as well, when I'm feeling fine it's the time I use to listen and help others, and when I'm not, I take a step back and tend to myself -like right now. There's not a time for me to enjoy myself, stop worriying or put aside the "problem-solving mode" with chill people.

To change this I'd say I have to meet new friends, people less focused in introspection or in another stage of life. Find the giants to step in their shoulders, so to speak. I could also learn to become this person, permanently or in certain moments, and begin to attract similar people.


3. Am I working a job that I like? If not, what can I do to change it?:

I work in Game Quitters and I love it, but I don't have a job with an income. I'd like to find a job that allowed me to work while traveling, no strings attached.

Right now it doesn't need to be a super job, it can be a part-time job I can take and leave to mix working periods with traveling periods. Since I don't have studies, my options are limited, but I could either look for a shitty job, or something online.

 

This answer is pretty general, but so is the question. I'll keep going and think about it again later.

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Chapter 4 fundamentals:

The 3 categories of new activities and hobbies to fill the void of games are:

1. Mentally Engaging: Something stimulating, a skill to develop, an achievement or goal to pursue.
2. Resting: Something to do at home when you’re tired and/or bored that requires a low amount of energy.
3. Social: Something to help you make new friends outside of games and that helps you get out of the house.

 

- Action Step 6 Report: "New activities to replace gaming":

Mentally Engaging: violin, drawing, learning languages*, studying, translating, working in Game Quitters.

Resting: violin, drawing, watching movies/documentaries, reading, learning to make music, listening to music, photography, siesta-ing, taking walks, meditation.

Social: fencing, volunteering, politics, traveling, meeting friends, working in Game Quitters, go see stuff in town (expositions, concerts, etc.)

Extra - Physically Active: fencing, working out, dancing, martial arts, sports*.

* Languages: Latin Languages (all), German, Russian, Japanese... / * Sports: Swimming, sailing, canoeing, roller skating, biking, karting.

 

- Action Step 7 and 8 Report: "Go-to activities, Backups and Environments":

To be mentally engaged my go-to activity will be: Work in Game Quitters.
When I’m tired my go-to activity will be: Siesta-ing. Have some coffee or tea and take a walk
To make more friends my go-to activity will be: Volunteering or Politics
When I feel bored my go-to activity will be: Violin
When I’m feeling stressed my go-to activity will be: Working out

My backup(s) will be:

Mentally Engaged Activity: Violin, drawing, translating
Resting Activity: Listening to music, watching movies/documentaries, translating, meditating
Social Activity: Politics or Volunteering, see stuff in town, meet friends, go to parties (whatever, really, friends just tend to happen and I'm ok with that)

Environments:

Cafeterias, libraries, the beach, the park, the church (What? It's a chill place), seats near the bay,

 

*Currently Urgent: Study for English exam, study for driving license, prepare Erasmus+ Project*

Edited by Hitaru
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The one thing I want to caution you on is the napping (siesta-ing) or documentaries/movies. I know you're very susceptible to laying around and binging on passive entertainment, so be careful about having these are your resting activities. Try going for walks, doing some exercise, getting out of the house, etc.

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@Cam Adair True that. I've been thinking about it these last two days and fixed my worksheet accordingly. I think the result is satisfactory!

The biggest challenge I'm facing is I get really anxious (sometimes panic attack anxious) when I'm outside, specially alone. I have a tendency to isolate myself at home and that's when I game, I mess my meals and sleeping schedules, etc. I'm not used to stimulants (eg. coffee) and I'm reluctant to add them permanently to my life but I guess I'll have to accept it, because normally I'm really low energy, even when I have the habit of working out.

I should probably talk about this "can't stand being outside alone" issue with someone.

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Chapter 5 fundamentals:

---- (Later)

- Action Step 9 Report: "Current Routine Breakdown":

Wake up between 13:00 and 18:00, go to bed between 3:00 and 7:00 

Usually either I eat when I cannot take it anymore (once every day and half or so) or when my mother's there to make meals for the whole family. Yes, despite the fact she works 5 days a week and I do nothing. And since she's absent sometimes, then sometimes I don't eat (It's fucking pathetic, I'm aware of it so please don't make comment giving it more relevance, I'm describing it because I have to in order to change it but I admit, it shames me greatly).

I almost never meet with friends, but I tend to keep intermittent communication through WhatsApp, my main channel to the outside world.

I never get out of the house by myself for the pleasure of doing it (or to keep cravings in check). Being out of the house alone, as mentioned before, makes me restless. Gives me plenty of room to think about previous mistakes, or future struggles. 

I meet my boyfriend once every two weeks on average, since he's currently in another town working.

Currently I'm going to the gym to work-out 2-3 hours a week, that's my only fixed commitment right now.

Recently I relapsed and been playing Hearts of Iron IV. I'm convinced the reason for this is because I both love alternate history and the idea of me making it. It is an outlet for me to my ambitions, I can pretend I'm doing high politics in an artificial setting where I have complete control. In other words, since I'm scared of judgement and failure I prefer to waste my time lying to myself and killing away my life rather than stand for my beliefs and completely arbitrary, emotion-based ideology, as every other ideology out there. 

(Don't worry, I also play other nations besides Nazi Germany...! I know this is no joking matter but it's a way to cope with both the shame of this sad life and the self-hate for liking politics that has been eating me from the inside since forever.)

In summary:

The breakdown of my average day right now could be described with: 

10%: Game Quitters.
20-25%: Watch TV (either with family or alone, usually the same old chapters of a relatively bad quality sit-com. Pretty sad. I know.)
5-10%: Watch porn.
+50%/-70%: Mindless browse, usually in order to feel bad about myself, game (this last month), have inconsequential conversations with friends in order to not feel alone. 

Since I don't have responsibilities, there's not a real difference between weekdays and weekends for me.

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Guys, 2 years and a half, 875 posts, 15 months after my first successful detox, despite all the things that happen that I consider achievements, I'm still at this stage. Honestly, I don't have an excuse for myself. I was probably living in the illusion that things were going better. This is not my usual journal, so I will not vent, victimize, or... all those things I usually do. I'm trying my best to refrain, but... let's say I'm not feeling good seeing this laid here so plainly. I feel like a fraud. The day I began this sub-journal @Cam Adair and I talked (wrote each other, as I said earlier, I barely talk with people at all) and I swear I could collect the disappointment dripping from his words into my fingertips. It felt that real. Brother, this is not a public accusation. I know you were coming at me from a position of genuine, open concern, and I am grateful. I know this guilt is nothing but the backstabbing tactic my brain and my darkness inside are using to make me quit (I mean give up). I'm not quitting tho. Not yet. Moving on.

 

- Action Step 10 and 11 Report: "Choose a Calendar and add Obligations":

Well this was pretty easy of course. I'm choosing Google Calendar for convenience, and my only "obligation" was already added.

That leaves me with an average of 109-110 free hours per week.

 

- Action Step 12 Report: "Add new activities and create routines":

This needs some thought. I'm dividing the activities in 2 blocks: The ones I need to invest money to begin or keep and the ones that are free and could be started right now:

Need initial or constant investment: 

Low: Reading, Listening to music, Meditation (Headspace), Volunteering (Training Courses), Politics (Fee), Hanging out with friends.

Moderate: Violin (Lessons), Drawing (Lessons), Learning to make music, Working out (Fee), Fencing (Lessons), Martial Arts (Lessons), Dancing (Lessons), Sports.

High: Languages (Lessons), Photography (Lessons), Working out (Trainer), Traveling.

Are for free: 

Practice by myself: Violin, Drawing, Languages, Photography, Meditation, Working out, Martial Arts, Sports, Studying (including preparing E+ Project).

Could make money someday: Translating, Working in Game Quitters, Politics, (Any hobby if I master it).

Are just relaxing/fun: Watch movies/documentaries, Volunteering, Taking walks, Going to see stuff in town. 

Illegally: Reading, Listening to music, Learning to make music.

 

Right now I'm working out with a trainer and I'm keeping that for the time being. Another high investment activity is currently impossible, and I could take a moderate one by straining the budget (and the budget-maker) to the limit. Trying to look for a job is also an option, but I wouldn't count on it. It may just happen however.

 

(I'm considering what new things to pick and how to integrate them, will update in a few hours)

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